An Atheist Responds


#1

washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/13/AR2007071301461.html


#2

Hmm, are you atheist? If so, let’s start up a debate!!


#3

By playing the martyr card of “you intolerable bigots trying to tell me I cannot think for myself”, and the ‘reason’ card of “it isn’t religion which makes us nice–in fact, lots of religious people aren’t nice at all, nyah nyah”. (though this flunks logic 101 it still seems a lot of people keep on falling for it). Plus the inflated, loaded language --I guess one man’s loving Creator is another man’s ‘celestial dictatorship’, and one man’s beliefs are another’s ‘attacks’. It is all in the point of view, isn’t it?

I’ll beg to respond that, ‘celestial dictator’ or no, God (despite Mr. Hitchins’ personal opinion which is from his own insignificant–cosmically speaking–brain), must, by definition, have a much bigger and broader point of view than Mr. Hitchins. . .or you, or I. Mr. Hitchins apparently can only grasp one point of view–his own–and cannot even permit another point of view to be heard without trying to paint it in as unfavorable terms as possible.

When a person can respond to a concept without having to descend to the equivalent of “you aren’t the boss of me” or descending into various argumentative fallacies, then you have the opportunity for real ‘response’. I’m hoping that someone from the atheistic point of view will try that approach next time.


#4

However, it is his own supposedly kindly religion that prevents him from seeing how insulting is the latent suggestion of his position: the appalling insinuation that I would not know right from wrong if I was not supernaturally guided by a celestial dictatorship, which could read and condemn my thoughts and which could also consign me to eternal worshipful bliss (a somewhat hellish idea) or to an actual hell.

Einstein was also rather fond of denying the divine origins of the innate moral code. Is it just me, or does it seem that intellectual pride often hinders so vast a number of individuals from ever coming to their knees and admitting they, the finite, have their origins in the Infinite: in the omnipotent, all-knowing, all-loving Creator? This exert is, truthfully, little more than loaded language.

“Only fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God,’” after all. The atheistic delusion, all their faulty reasoning, will never change Truth.

Hitchens’ problem seems to be little more than that oh so deadly seventh sin—it isn’t uncommon for atheists to be fundamentally opposed to the idea of dependency. It’s almost a characteristic trait, really: a shame, and a ludicrous notion also, as man is, like all other creatures, a totally dependent being.

Is anyone else reminded by his description of God as “a celestial dictatorship” of Milton’s charismatic Satan, who in one place references “the tyranny of heaven”? Maybe he’s referring to extremist positions such as Calvinism; if not, I fail to comprehend his rather illogical reasoning.

What’s more, I can see how Heaven must hold little appeal to atheists: To spend an hour in the home of someone you do not know and have never really spoken to, or really liked for that matter, would be rather awkward. Likewise, to spend eternity in Heaven with a God you’ve never known would be an equally unappealing idea. But we are friends of God, and eternity with our Cosmic Compadre is something we anticipate very strongly. We know that the one who never lies has promised us true Joy, with no admixture of sorrow whatsoever, we know he who’s given everything for us, who has loved us unceasingly, and unconditionally, is waiting.

His conception of Hell purely as a place of torment is unbiblical. The Scriptures say, “I discipline those whom I love.” Hell is punishment, is correction, but God’s motives are inspired by Love in all instances, this one included. A parent who does not discipline is certainly not a good parent at all!

Has anyone else observed that all his attacks are on religion, rather than God? It is easy to fault something man-made, and therefore corrupt. It is not, however, easy to fault one who makes no mistakes. I agree, religion starts wars, causes pain, hurt, disappointment, etc., but never God. His failure to distinguish between the two is his major error.


#5

We laugh at this dead god, but were not Norse children told that without Valhalla there would be no courage and no moral example? Isn’t it true that Louis Farrakhan’s crackpot racist group gets young people off drugs? Doesn’t Hamas claim to provide social services to the downtrodden?

Truth is for ever and ever. It has survived the test of time, and will continue to do so. Not even the “gates of Hades” shall overcome, or even rattle, God’s Church nor the Truth which it upholds, either. Who is so arrogant as to think otherwise?

If you credit any one religion with motivating good deeds, how (without declaring yourself to be sectarian) can you avoid crediting them all?

In God’s infinite grace, all men are given an instinctive knowledge of Truth; such discernment is the reason why we can honestly say there is Truth in all religions, be it only fragments in most cases.

But this sober conclusion, objective as it is, is surely preferable to the delusion that we have been created diseased, by a capricious despot, and then abruptly commanded to be whole and well, on pain of terror and torture. That sick joke is one that we can cease to find impressive, that belongs in the infancy of our species, and gives a false picture of reality that we would do well to outgrow.

“Created diseased”? We were created without sin, if I recall. Remember the Tree, Hitchens? God didn’t make mankind a race of robots, forced to reciprocate his divine Love. Rather, he gave them a command; therefore, they had the right to choose for themselves either obedience or disobedience: God or Sin. They choose the latter, and all this time our Father’s been trying to win us back, still, after all these countless years, respecting the free will which he, in his grace, endowed us with. Once again, his view of damnation strictly as a cruel mode of torment is reflected in his writing. Shall he never see God’s Love in all this? His implications are clear: intellect and religion are at odds. “Only the unevolved primates still living among us adhere to their religious fantasies, while the rest of us have chosen reason.” This entire article is nothing more than an attack, and not necessarily on theism itself but more so on theists—it seems to me he isn’t much of a debater if all he can do is attack his opponents. Man is a religious being, and he shall ever be, so long as divine Providence makes himself known.

Let Gerson name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever.

A believer can live out his faith, while a nonbeliever can only live out his lack thereof. A believer may utter a prayer that shall be heard in Heaven, while an atheist would never even be found on his knees. A believer can love—truly love—in the name of Christ. A nonbeliever can love only in his own name, and therefore, never really love at all.

And here is my second challenge. Can any reader of this column think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action performed, precisely because of religious faith?

Regardless of this man’s insinuations, religion is distinct from God. Therefore, his question merits not a rebuttal.

We would all do well to pray.


#6

No but you will find one or two on Steve Ray’s board.


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